WHEN YOU CONSIDER THE WORD pocket, what flashes into view? A side or back pocket in your jeans? A place to tuck your cellphone or keys? A slip of fabric stitched to the front of a shirt? How about a garden? Yes, a garden.
Downtown Faribault features a pocket garden, a mini garden sandwiched in an open space between buildings. I love the concept, the artsy and practical use of a spot that might otherwise exist as unused and unsightly.
In 2018, two sisters and two artists created the 2nd Street Garden next to DuFour’s Cleaners thanks to funding from Faribault Main Street. That downtown-focused group secured a $15,000 grant from the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota and the Bush Foundation for six creative placemaking art projects, including the pocket garden.
With financial support, sisters Dee Bjork and Beth Westerhouse (who has since died) and husband-wife team Ann Meillier and Dave Correll (Brushwork Signs) designed and created the garden. It incorporates metal flowers, real flowers and plants, a bench and floral art.
The result is an inviting oasis that feels tranquil and welcoming. And unexpected.
Recently, I revisited the garden and discovered a mini stuffed bear on the park’s bench. An attached tag invited visitors to take a photo and to use #LovePeopleBeKind. The bear, with red heart connected, fits the garden’s theme of Love One Another.
It’s such a simple concept: Love One Another. But it’s not always easy to do. We say and do things that hurt others. We fail to listen. We blame and criticize and jump to conclusions. And with technology, it’s easier than ever to fire off words in the heat of the moment. Without thinking. Without considering. Without putting our fingers and mouths on pause.
I’d like each of us to step into a pocket garden. To sit on a real or imaginary bench, surrounded by natural and artistic beauty, and to contemplate. To think beyond ourselves. To think of ways we can grow more loving and caring. To consider that what we say, write and do matters. In either a positive way or a negative way. We can hurt people. Or we can choose to love one another. We can choose to show, and grace others with, kindness, love, care, empathy and compassion.
© Copyright 2021 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
Wise words. Thanks.
You are welcome.
I love these little gardens tucked into fun and unexpected places! So glad you share them with us.
I’m glad you enjoyed the garden. I, too, love finding such beautiful spaces. Like fairy gardens…
Thank you for this positive wise message, it’s always good to be reminded to be kind and loving toward others. Also I love how faribault has such creative artsy spots in downtown. Thanks for sharing.
You are welcome. Yes, folks in Faribault are working hard to encourage positives.
Love this, read your 2015 post. But who tends them? There must be a long term plan before one is established, especially in MN!
That’s a good question, which I asked of someone indirectly connected to this garden. But I didn’t get an answer. Initially, those who created the garden assumed that responsibility.